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USGBC Names Top 10 Green States

Thursday, February 5, 2015

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For the second year in a row, Illinois leads the list of U.S. states with the highest concentration of LEED-certified commercial and institutional buildings.

The U.S. Green Building Council's Top 10 States for LEED in 2014 ranking, announced Wednesday (Feb. 4), is based on certifications earned during the past year and Census data from 2010.

Chicago skyline
© / Stuartb

Illinois certified 174 LEED commercial and institutional projects in 2014.

In Illinois, 174 projects comprising 42.5 million square feet of space earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification in 2014. That translates to 3.31 square feet per capita.

Other LEED-leading states are Colorado and Maryland, with 3.14 and 2.70 square feet of LEED-certified space per person, respectively.

Momentum in the South, Southwest

Making their debuts on the Top 10 list this year were Georgia, with 1.83 square feet per person, and Arizona, with 1.74 square feet per capita

The newcomers “show that 2014 was a year of major growth for LEED in the South and Southwest regions of the country,” according to the USGBC.

Collectively, 1,662 commercial and institutional projects became certified within the Top 10 states in 2014, representing 251.7 million square feet of real estate. Worldwide, 4,502 projects were certified in 2014, representing 675.7 million square feet, according to USGBC.

D.C. Dominates

Though not ranked in the list of states, Washington D.C. leads the nation in total LEED-certified space per resident.

Full rankings

Newcomers to the list this year are Georgia and Arizona.

The federal territory certified 29.44 square feet of space per person in 2014.

Strong performances in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia have helped the Mid-Atlantic region remain the “epicenter of green building across the country,” the council notes.

California boasted the most certified projects of any state with 517, but ranked seventh on a per-capita basis.

Illinois Ranking

Brian Imus, executive director of the council’s Illinois chapter, said two factors had played a role in the state’s No. 1 ranking, according to the Chicago Tribune.

First, numerous Illinois-based companies have adopted green building practices; and, second, city governments often require them, he said.

One recently certified project in Illinois is the Aon Center, a 3.2 million-square-foot tower in Chicago owned by Jones Lang LaSalle. The Aon Center is the fifth-tallest skyscraper in the U.S.

Energy-efficient upgrades helped the tower to earn LEED Silver.

Rick Brazil; courtesy of USGBC

The SkySong Center in Scottsdale, AZ, is a 1.2 million-square-foot mixed-use project featuring commercial office space, Arizona State University's SkySong incubator, and SkySong Apartments. The center's building 3 was awarded LEED Silver certification in September.

“I’m used to Illinois ranking No. 1 in corruption,” Imus told the newspaper, adding that it was nice to see the state rated first in something else.

Standouts in the Class of 2014

USGBC says notable 2014 projects certified in the Top 10 states include:

  • Colorado: Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Morgridge Family Exploration Center (LEED Platinum);
  • Maryland: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Building 26, Greenbelt (LEED Gold);
  • Virginia: University of Mary Washington’s Technology Convergence Center, Fredericksburg (LEED Silver);
  • Massachusetts: Winchester Hospital Ambulatory Surgery Center (LEED Gold);
  • Hawaii: City Financial Tower, Honolulu (LEED Gold);
  • California: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara (LEED Gold);
  • Georgia: The Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta (LEED Silver);
  • Minnesota: Wells Fargo Center, Minneapolis (LEED Gold);
  • Arizona: Arizona State University Health Services renovation, Tempe (LEED Platinum); and
  • New York: Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology (LEED Platinum). 

More than 26,600 projects representing 3.6 billion square feet of space have been LEED-certified to date, with an additional 42,000 projects representing 8.8 billion square feet in the pipeline for certification.


Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Color + Design; Design; Green building; Green design; LEED; North America; U.S. Green Building Council

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